Public show 100% opposition to removing or downgrading Northern Rail guards

Socialist Students and the Socialist Party held a public vote at the RMT’s picket line at Leeds station this Saturday, which graphically demonstrated public support for striking RMT workers on Northern Rail.

Lots of people were keen to get involved and show their support for the striking workers in their struggle against DOO – Driver Only Operation. We had ballot papers asking for Yes or No votes to the question ‘Should we keep a fully safety trained guard on Northern Rail services?’.

We had a ballot box on our stall which soon filled up – the final vote was a unanimous ‘Yes’, with 115 votes!

115 ballots – all yes to keeping the guard on the train – photo Leeds Socialist Party

Many people told us about the help they have had from guards in the past, or about friends and family who rely on assistance. Most often, people told us they don’t want to see an unstaffed rail service because of the difference it would make for women travellers.

Anger about this was combined with anger about the clear reason for this proposed change – greed and profits, which in the case of Northern Rail is a subsidiary of German’s publicly owned state railways.

The DOO dispute dates from before the anti-trade union act, so it won’t be necessary to re-ballot in order to continue taking industrial action to force the bosses back. This was the 34th day of strike action for Northern Rail staff and picket line morale remains high as they struggle for public safety – a calendar of further dates is in place through November and December. We’ll continue to show our support and publicise the campaign.

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